Monday, May 4, 2015

Free Comic Book Day 2015

Saturday was Free Comic Book Day and, after having not participated in it since the first Free Comic Book Day in 2002, I packed some books up, got up early, and set up at a table at my local comic book shop, Time Warp Comics.

I showed up at 9:30am and there was already a line around the block outside. I snuck in the back door of the store and set up next to my friend, Kevin Caron. The store was set up so that, once the people were let into the store, the line would snake around the entire store, past a bunch of us attending artists, and then make it's way back to the front where all the free comic books being given away were located. So, everyone who came in the store had to come by the table where I was set up.

I took this chance to try out the new book rack I had bought for the upcoming Denver Comic Con. It folds up nicely for travel but becomes a four tiered rack where I can fit a lot of books and make them visible to people passing by. It worked really great. I also put out some extra copies of an old print run of OilCan Drive and some old copies of my first comic book, Exit 6. I gave those two books away as well as stickers, trading cards, and postcards. People really seemed to like what I was doing.

There were people in costume talking to the crowd, as you can see by the giant Galactus in the background. This guy was awesome but I don't know how much he could move around without any help. I know he was outside for a while talking to people but I mostly saw him as he leaned over a box of comics and talked to people in line. He was really funny and talked a lot to the kids.

At most comic conventions I go to now I try to sell my books, talk to people, and let them know what I'm doing. Since I've gone back to doing conventions I haven't really sat down and done sketches for people. But, on Saturday, that's all I did.

My throat was a little raw from a cold I've been fighting so I figured it might be safer drawing and sketching all day than talking and killing my voice. Plus, Kevin was sketching and it looked like a lot of fun. I borrowed some of the paper he had brought and, as people and kids came by, I'd take requests.

Most kids called out for superheroes or heroes from movies but there were a few interesting requests. My favorite was one from a guy who asked for "a space moose with a ray gun!" That one was a lot of fun to do. Another asked for The Walking Dead but, instead of a zombie, wanted a picture of Darryl. I did my best. One kid wanted a Terminator even though he had never seen any of the movies. He was still too young. But, I told him once he was old enough that the original Terminator was one of my favorite movies and I hope he likes it when he has a few more years on him.

Probably one of my favorite pieces came at the end of the day. A man with a Modok tattoo asked for my version of Modok. I loved how it came out because I drew his face like one of the characters from Evan Dorkin's Milk and Cheese. And I love Dorkin's stuff so it was a nice surprise and a good way to wrap up the day.

The final two pieces I drew were for two kids who had to leave early. But, I promised them if they emailed me their address I'd mail out their sketches to them. Tonight I need to make a run to the post office and send those pieces out.

I wish I had kept a running list of all the sketches I did. I only took a few photos as I went but there wasn't one piece I did that I wasn't proud of. Yesterday I made a list of all the pieces that I could remember. I'm sure I missed a few but, in one eight hour period, I drew over thirty pieces for people. That's not a bad hourly average and I'm really amazed at how quick I've become and how decent all of the pieces turned out. I guess I'm getting somewhere with this odd skill of mine.

Over all the day was really great and a lot of fun. I have to say a big thank you to Wayne Winsett, owner of Time Warp Comics, for inviting me to participate. I'm sure I could have gone and sat down in past years but it's nice to get a little push sometimes. All of the photos of the even I took from Jay Sternitzky's Facebook page. He has worked along with Wayne to not only put together the 24 Hour Comic Book Challenge I did last October but to also wrangle in a few artists for this event.

The crowds were great, the artists were great, and the staff of Time Warp was great. And, yes, my wife even showed up dressed as Wonder Woman. My favorite photo of her is one from out in front of the store where she greeted customers and talked to the kids. The photo of her was taken with two little girls who asked her, "are you the real Wonder Woman?" That is just too cute.

And, of course, my wife said, "yes!"

You gotta love stuff like that.

I hope everyone had a great Free Comic Book Day and I'll definitely see you all again next year!

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